As a thrifty investor, you'd want to ensure you get more value for less money. One way to do it is, of course, to buy value stocks. But choosing a stock based merely on valuations is risky and not the best approach to investing since a stock price can decline for several reasons. Your ideal stock pick would be companies that are growing or operate in high-growth industries and are trading fairly cheaply today. Our contributors believe TripAdvisor (NASDAQ:TRIP), Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A) (NYSE:BRK-B), and Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) are three such growth stocks well suited for a thrifty investor's risk appetite today.
Taking a flier on travel
Rich Duprey (TripAdvisor): Making the transition from simple travel review site to online travel agent has not been easy for TripAdvisor. Just because you had millions of reviews and hundreds of millions of page views doesn't mean people will want to book a trip to one of those destinations on your site -- particularly if you don't make it intuitive enough to do so. I once tried to make a reservation through them and could never make it through to the actual booking app, so I finally gave up.
It's much easier today, though, and with partnerships it has such as the one with Priceline Group's (NASDAQ:BKNG) Booking.com site, TripAdvisor has the ability to better cash-in on the potential. There should be a natural synergy between reading a review of a location and deciding to book a room there that ought to eventually work to TripAdvisor's advantage.
Traditional valuation metrics can look skewed at a company pivoting from depressed earnings, which is the case with TripAdvisor, which sports a price-to-earnings ratio of 55 times trailing earnings and 30 times next year's estimates. Investors would be better served looking at the key metrics documenting its turnaround.
Last quarter TripAdvisor booked 4% growth in hotel revenues after they fell in the previous four quarters, and monthly unique hotel shoppers grew 9% to 150 million, the biggest gain in the past year. Importantly, click-based and transaction revenue per hotel shopper also reversed six straight quarters of decline and notched 12% growth, while the smaller, but fast-growing non-hotel segment is expected to be profitable this year. Combined, these factors can boost TripAdvisor's stock and provide a powerful basis for dramatic portfolio returns.
A powerhouse to power up your portfolio
Neha Chamaria (Berkshire Hathaway): With legendary investor Warren Buffet at its helm and the incredible track record of the Berkshire Hathaway stock, I don't see a reason why any drop in the stock price shouldn't be considered an opportunity. Berkshire Hathaway shares have taken a hit of late and are down about 7% in the past three months, as of this writing.
Berkshire Hathaway's muted recent earnings didn't go down too well with investors, but it was primarily its insurance business -- which can be volatile -- that weighed down on profits. Berkshire Hathaway might be known as an insurer, but it's a megaconglomerate that runs a diverse set of businesses today, each in a league of its own.
Some of Berkshire Hathaway's well-known brands include GEICO, Acme Brick, Lubrizol, Fruit of the Loom, Clayton Homes, BNSF Railway, and more. Its massive portfolio brought in revenues worth a whopping $223 billion and earned net income worth roughly $24 billion in fiscal year 2016. But when you own Berkshire Hathaway shares, you don't just own a part of these high-flying brands -- you also get indirect ownership in the companie the conglomerate is invested in, including the likes of Apple, American Express, Coca Cola, and IBM, among others.
Needless to say, a couple of weak quarters don't, and can't, undermine the powerhouse that is Berkshire Hathaway. As for the stock's performance, Berkshire Hathaway has gained almost 2 million percent since 1965, clocking annual compounded returns of more than 20%. The stock's recent drop is perhaps the perfect time to put Buffett's advice to use: Be greedy when others are fearful.
A chip leader for cheap
Keith Noonan (Qualcomm): With sales declining in each of the last two fiscal years and the company facing a handful of pending lawsuits, Qualcomm might not be one of the first names that comes to mind when investors are on the hunt for growth; however, the chip giant looks like a cheap stock that could see a momentum surge thanks to acquisitions and tech industry tailwinds.
On the acquisitions side, the company appears to be on track to purchase automotive chip leader NXP Semiconductors, and the move could have an impressive impact on sales and earnings in the years to come. Qualcomm anticipates that the deal will help increase the size of its addressable market 40% by 2020, bring revenues from roughly $23.6 billion in the last fiscal year to over $30 billion annually upon completion, and create $500 million in cost synergies.
Qualcomm also has big opportunities with 5G networks and other Internet of Things technologies. The arrival of 5G is likely to spur modem sales and increase profit margins, and as the leading provider of mobile chips, the company also stands to benefit from a new generation of devices. Its patent-licensing business could also see momentum, as a study from LexInnova found Qualcomm to hold more valuable IoT patents than any other company.
Trading at less than 14 times forward earnings estimates, Qualcomm stock looks cheap compared to the company's rebound potential, and it even packs a nearly 4% dividend yield to fall back on in case its growth opportunities don't turn out as planned.